A court in Egypt sentenced 10 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death
The 10 are not in custody at this time, and the sentence will be reviewed by Grand Mufti
The verdicts come on the same day Egypt's President regulates religious practices
Ten supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy were sentenced to death Saturday by a criminal court in Cairo, according to state-run Al-Ahram Online.
None of the 10 – who were convicted in absentia on charges of inciting violence and blocking a major highway – are currently in custody, Al-Ahram said.
Following protocol, the court referred the death sentence to the country’s Grand Mufti to review the verdicts.
The trial of 38 other defendants, including Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie, will continue July 5.
In April, 683 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, including Badie, were sentenced to death on other charges. A March sentencing ruled that 529 Brotherhood supporters would face capital punishment, but a later review left only 37 of that group with a death sentence.
The mass death sentences have drawn international criticism. In March, a spokesman for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the verdicts “clearly appear not to meet basic fair trial standards.”
The latest death sentences against the Muslim Brotherhood come on the same day outgoing interim President Adly Mansour issued a decree regulating religious practices in Egypt, according to a presidential statement.
The law says that “only designated specialists at the Ministry of Religious Endowments and authorized preachers from the Al-Azhar shall be permitted to practice public preaching and religious lessons in mosques or similar public places.”
Also on Saturday, a separate appeals court overturned the convictions of four police officers who had been tried in the deaths of three dozen prisoners, according to Ahram.
Last August, the Interior Ministry said that 37 Morsey supporters arrested in protests had died of asphyxiation due to tear gas and overcrowding while they were being transferred to Abu Zabaal prison in Cairo, Ahram reported.
Security forces initially claimed the prisoners had died during an escape attempt. However, prosecution investigators said there had been no escape attempt.
According to eyewitness reports, police fired tear gas into the the vehicle, leading to the suffocation of the detainees.
Egypt has been in turmoil almost regularly since the Arab Spring swept through the region in 2011. Mass protests pushed Hosni Mubarak from office and the military took control. Morsy, who was backed by the Muslim Brotherhood and was the country’s first democratically elected leader, was ousted in July 2013, barely a year after he took office.